Planning your Hawaii Vacation in Advance

Coconut trees in between landscaped hotel property and a Hawaii beach

Well folks, just when you thought we might be slowing down on our vacation bookings to Hawaii, we have actually now entered into our busy season. And now is the time to start thinking about your upcoming trips (that is, if you want to make sure you book something for a reasonable price). Despite popular belief, booking a trip within the last few weeks of your departure date is rarely a good idea. Someone might luck out with a killer last minute airfare deal, but with the way hotel and resort occupancy has been the past year, a plane ticket to Hawaii doesn’t necessarily mean a hotel room is guaranteed once you’re here. In fact, this is the reason why airfare has been cheap lately, because there are no rooms available in the hotels and resorts in Hawaii! Which is why I’m hammering you over the head with my mantra, “book in advance, book in advance, book in advance!”

Now is the time when we start booking for April and May, otherwise known as spring break. There is a common misconception that travel times peak in the summer and winter months, but with Hawaii, we’re almost seeing a year-round busy season these days. Spring is a wonderful time to come to Hawaii however; the weather is not too hot, not too cool (in the evenings), whale watching is at a prime time, the landscapes are in full blossom, and the ocean swells are in a sort of holding period, making swimming and snorkeling more ideal. Plus, you don’t get quite the hustle bustle crowd of the summer and winter months, but don’t let this fool you. Just because it doesn’t seem like a popular travel season, doesn’t mean it’s not. And like I said before, Hawaii hasn’t seen any slow down in tourism for almost a year now.

Since we’re on the topic, I’m going to take this opportunity to spiel a bit about whale watching. From the months of December through May, whale watching is at its prime and you can book a catamaran cruise to view these stunning creatures for as low at $40 a person! We have a variety of tour companies on all four major islands that offer whale watching, along with food, cocktails, live entertainment, and more during the trip. It truly is an experience that is worthwhile because it achieves a few different things. #1- you get to witness humpback whales in their natural environment, during their most playful and active time of the year. #2- you get to get out on a boat. This is an activity that is high up on the bucket list for folks traveling to Hawaii. And #3, you get to experience the island from a completely different perspective, via the ocean. These factors all make a whale watching activity extremely worthwhile, and especially for the price you can find them at.

But back to booking Hawaii vacations. Often times we get inquiries about when the cheapest time to travel to Hawaii is. My answer is always May and October, but this is only relevant when you book in advance. May and October happen to be the months that fall outside of popular travel dates, such as the summer months and winter months, making them an easy target for those looking to travel on a budget. However, one new variable in these “cheap” travel months is the fact that hotel prices are a lot higher than they used to be, and likely to get even higher. The demand for hotel rooms is going up, therefore the prices are going up as well. In the past year we’ve seen rooms increase anywhere from 7-10% in price, making what used to be a $200 room (per night) into $220.00, which might as well be $250 with all the taxes and service charges that are tacked on! I question where the tipping point will be.

However, it is important to factor in these climbing prices when planning a vacation to Hawaii, otherwise your “off-season, inexpensive getaway” will have a hefty price tag attached to it. Some things to remember: book in advance, look into your hotel accommodations early, and start planning as soon as possible! We can beat the competition, so it’s best to book with someone like us; a local travel company that is in-tune with the market and how to get around exorbitant fees. Plus, we can give you the inside scoop on other ways to save during your vacation like booking a condo instead of a hotel, budgeting ahead of time, straying away from restaurants that price their food on their location (instead of their service or quality), and group activity bookings. We have a bag of tricks ready and waiting for you, so give us a call to start planning your upcoming vacation and we’ll be happy to share them with you!

Since 2006 Bruce Fisher has been publishing the Hawaii Vacation Blog and the Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast which, create daily content about Hawaii Travel and Tourism. This Blog is the only online resource providing Hawaii-based information aimed at travelers seven days per week. Postings reflect the Hawaiian Islands, their culture and their lifestyle as accurately and thoroughly as possible.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great show.

    In real life, I am a total “Type B” procrastinator. I don’t plan at all, and I don’t usually know what I’m doing until I wake up that day.

    My Hawaii trips are an exception. I plan them out in excruciating detail. Here’s my approach:

    1. Consider the equator pretty much gives you a light from around 6:30 am to 6:30 pm (with twighlight and dusk). That means:

    2. Plan on waking up early and going to bed on the early side. This is not hard if you come from the mainland, as your body clock is already set up that way.

    3. List out: A. activities, B: restaurants C: Locations. Start with a “wishlist” with everything you want to do. Go crazy. You are going to cut this list down. Yelp is great for restaurants, and TripAdvisor is great for sights and activities. Another trick is to Google

    4. Prioritize: The ratings and reviews on yelp and tripadvisor are helpful once again. I try to pick the very best. How do I know how to prioritize? For restaurants, I count the number of meals I will be there. I tend to put “active” things like hikes, snorkeling, etc. in the mornings. Sightseeing, a la museums, gardens I usually do in the afternoons; sometimes seeking air conditioning. Evenings are for walks or music, and before bed, I read free literature from the Internet about hawaii. For example, one visit I read the letters from the sandwich islands by mark twain. You can find plenty of Hawaii literature on mythology, history, locations, etc.

    5. Plan: Once I have my list, I start blocking everything out on a weekly planner, you know, the kind that high school and college kids use to plan their classes. I try and put things on a logical driving path.

    6. Allow plenty of time. Usually, I have breakfast, lunch and dinner planned with only one activity in the morning, and one in the afternoon. I like to chill around dusk and sunset and then have dinned.

    Maybe I will post a picture of one of my grids on your Facebook page.

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